Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

Writer of tug-at-the-heartstrings, feel-good romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

National Siesta Day

Well, I'm still writing. Interrupted by sports days, school consultation appointments, drama and music productions in addition to all the usual clubs and so forth. It was sooooooooooooo much easier when they were all in bed by seven.

But ...

How about this bit of joyous news. Here in the UK it's National Siesta Day. I really like the sound of that.

According to the website (And, yes, there is a website) 'Research shows that we have a strong biological tendency to become tired in the early afternoon. A short 10-20 minute nap in the middle of a working day can increase productivity by over 30% and alertness by 100% as well as improve memory and concentration, according to NASA. Recent research shows that we can also reduce stress and the risk of heart disease by 34%.'

And there are tips on how to do it:

'Ideally we should lie down to nap as this simulates the position we are when sleeping at night and our body can relax more easily. Wherever you are, it is important that you are as comfortable as possible, as safe as possible and you do not cause obstruction or hazzard to other people. So if your favourite place is under your desk at work, make sure your feet do not stick out causing a passerby to trip! Also if you doze off in the park, make sure your belongings are safely by your side and the strap of a bag is looped around your arm.'


1. Lie down if possible on a bed, floor or sofa. Or you can sit back in your chair. Use a cushion or pillow if you can.

2. Set your alarm for 10-20 minutes.

3. Close your eyes. An eye mask may help to cut out bright light….or a folded newspaper.

4. Let your mind wander or think of sinking downwards. Even if you do not actually sleep, the process will relax your mind and refresh you.

5. Enjoy.'

So, that's that - I'm off for a nap. 30% increase in productivity can only be good.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's getting complicated ...

Maths is sooooo not my strong point!

In 'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl' Seb was 29. He was 20 when his father died. Soooo that means his sister, Isabelle, was 22 during that book and 13 when her father died.

Now - Hanif is the same age as Seb. Rashid younger.

In the book I've just written Rashid was 29. Hanif was 4 when his mother died. Bahiyaa just a baby. So that means if Prince Khalid, mourning the loss of one wife, lost no time in getting together with a second, the closest age gap I can have between the half brothers is 5 years, right? So that means Hanif has to 34. Which makes Izzy 27.

Now if I want a two year gap so that Hanif can become King .....

That means Hanif and Seb are now 36. Marianne is now 35. Bahiyaa is 32. Izzy is 29.

If that's not right, please don't tell me. This all seemed like such a good idea when I started.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Blogging at PHS

If you want to know who he is you'll have to go over to the Pink Heart Society. It's my turn to choose a Male on Monday. It's a tough job!

Meanwhile, I'm getting organised. I have reclaimed the cupboard-I-fondly-call-my-study and have turfed out everything that isn't condusive to my working day. All of that is now spread around the other rooms of the house and I do believe I have finally demonstrated to my nearest and dearest what I've been whittering on about for months. In fact, the very last words my husband muttered as he left for work was that he'd stop off at the retail park and pick up some archive boxes. Result! I've also put in an order for a large whiteboard. And I've just this minute flexed my credit card and bought a white anglepoise lamp which suits my current 70s vibe.

It's not even 9 o'clock yet!

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Trials and tribulations.

I'm emerging from my self-imposed exile. I'd like to tell you it's because I've finished my book but, actually, I haven't. I've come to the painful conclusion I've been writing the wrong story.

At least you'd think it would be painful but it isn't in the slightest. The relief of going 'nope, this isn't going to work and I'm going to stop writing it' is a huge release. I've discovered some interesting things about myself. I am actually quite disciplined. (My mum would have been so surprised!) I am a writer who puts my bottom in the chair. I really tried but sometimes that just isn't enough.

The characters are fine. I know them. But I'm going to put them somewhere else and doing slightly different things. And I'm having a ball. Just wish I'd called a halt three weeks ago.

Meanwhile ...

Today, in the world of Harlequin Mills & Boon authors, is pay day. It's when the bi-annual royalty statements arrive and, in my case because I like to actually see it, a cheque. Always nice!

So I decided I would walk into town, let my story ferment a little, and pay in my cheque. About two miles from home the rain began. I continued on, optimistic it would blow over. Humph. You know what's coming next, don't you?

I went to the bank, stopped for coffee (and shortbread), hid in the library ... until I had no choice but to start walking back so I could pick offspring 5 up from school.

It was TORRENTIAL. And, yes, I do mean to shout. This is the best picture I could find but she's lucky - I was wearing a white skirt.

So, that's a whole lot of people who know far too much about me! I'm sooooo going to put that in a book some day.

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